There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.
—Leondardo da Vinci
Research is about observing tasks, questioning hypotheses, and validating concepts to define a more successful product. No research is complete without sharing observations. And sharing starts in the field with debrief sessions. While the remainder of this book looks at the organization and communication of research data, this chapter focuses specifically on communication that occurs continually during research.
In Chapter 6, we described the pacing and cadence of schedules, including the “recharging” time between research sessions where prototypes are reset and the team grabs a cup of coffee. Debriefs, simply put, are conversations you have during those times. These debrief sessions don’t need to be planned, though their purpose and goals are consistent.
Planned debrief sessions may be as short as five minutes after a research session, or as formal as an end-of-day discussion with all observers and business stakeholders. In either case, the goal of the session is to quickly go around the group and identify what went well, what could be improved upon, and actionable next steps for the duration of the research initiative.
Ad hoc debrief sessions can take place at any time, though we recommend waiting until after a research session is over. More impromptu debrief ...